Dayanand Saraswati was one of India’s greatest social reformers, leaders and philosophers during the pre-independence era. Known to be the founder of Arya Samaj (Hindu reform organisation), Dayanand Saraswati was the one who first gave the call for Swaraj in 1876 as ‘India for Indians’. It was a call that was later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.
Born on 12 February, 1824, in Gujarat, Saraswati's original name was Mool Shankar Tiwari. The name Mool was given to him as he was born when the Mool Nakshatra conquered the sky.
But according to the traditional Hindu calendar, the great Indian philosopher was born on the Dashami tithi of Phalguna Krishna Paksha. This year, Dayanand Saraswati's birth anniversary is celebrated on 26 February, Saturday.
Every year, this special day is celebrated in all vedic institutions and religious establishments across the country with great pomp and fervour. Even schools and academic institutions conduct debates, essay competitions among other activities to mark the day.
Snippets from Dayanand Saraswati’s life:
More than a religious leader, Swami Dayanand Saraswati was a reformer who left a deep impression on the minds of countrymen. His ideas were more against following empty rituals, denouncing caste system, encouraging education and giving equal rights to men and women.
He was the one who promoted Vedic philosophy with principles of karma and reincarnation. Saraswati's mission in life was universal brotherhood. He founded the Arya Samaj that opposed caste system based on birth rather than merit, child marriage, idol worship, untouchability and temple offerings. Factors concerning social reform and education were Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s main focus.
To understand and realise the vision that Dayanand Saraswati had, the Dayanand Anglo Vedic (DAV) schools came into existence in 1886. In the country, the first DAV School was founded at Lahore and Mahatma Hansraj was appointed as its first Headmaster.
Some inspiring quotes from the leader:
- The tongue should express what is in the heart.
- He is good and wise who always speaks the truth, acts on the dictates of virtue, and tries to make others good and happy.
- Though music transcends language, culture and time, and though notes are the same, Indian music is unique because it is evolved, sophisticated and melodies are defined.
- The greatest musical instrument given to a human being is the voice.
- Prayer in any form is efficacious because it is an action. It will, therefore, have a result. That is the law of this universe in which we find ourselves.
- Salvation is the state of emancipation from the endurance of pain and subjection to birth and death, and of the life of liberty and happiness in the immensity of God.